Doctor Maria Jenkins adjusted her white coat; clipping her name badge onto it and tucking her panic button into the large pocket, which held nothing but a pen. She never felt the need to use her panic button - sure these people were insane, but they weren't dangerous. The most danger she'd ever encountered during her eight years as a psychiatric nurse was when a young woman by the name of Marrietta Edgecomb had attacked her screaming 'You did this to my face!' What she was supposed to have done to the girls face, Maria did not know, but whatever it was, it had angered her beyond belief and it took four male nurses to hold her down while Maria sedated her.
She had a few regular patients. Six to be exact. Those six lived in the hospital - it had once been seven but sadly, Lucius had decided that it would be a better idea to throw himself out of the window than to live one more day in the hospital. It had left his son most distraught until six minutes later, when he had no recollection of who Lucius had been.
It was a tough job - no doubt about that. But Maria adored it. She loved hearing the stories her patients told her; although whether they were real or not, she never could work out. Although her regular seven…they all seemed so determined with their stories. The stories mingled, complementing each other and almost proving each other to be real. But of course they weren't true. They couldn't be. There was no such thing as witches and wizards and this lord Voldemort surely wasn't true. She'd have known about it. She was quite a worldly woman and had always kept in touch with latest affairs, so it was hard to believe that a man could have caused such destruction right under her nose, without her realizing. Although the strange tattoos Lucius and Draco had were suspicious… She could have sworn she saw them move once or twice, but of course she put that down to a long shift and her eyes playing tricks on her.
Fixing her hair one last time, she smiled into the mirror before closing the locker and making her way into the ward, unsure of what she would encounter.
"Perhaps if you weren't a pathetic, two timing bastard, we'd still be together," yelled an all too familiar voice. A woman, no older than twenty five, although her vibrant red hair was greying prematurely, stood in the centre of the ward, cursing obscenities at a man who's eyes were closed behind thickly rimmed glasses. He placed his hands over his eyes, chanting a mantra of 'I can't hear you Ginny'. Maria sighed. It was a common sight at Four Seasons Psychiatric Hospital although she had assumed after three years of being here, that the outbursts would have calmed down.
"Oh for heavens sake, will you shut up woman? It's not his fault he's asexual. Now shut up, sit down and let us watch this bloody contraption in peace!" Maria snorted at this comment. It would have seemed marginally normal; had the owner of the voice not been sitting cross legged on his bed, wearing an all black pyjama and bath robe set, glaring at the television as though it was some sort of devil in disguise. The man turned. "Ahh, nurse. What do you call this thing again?" he said, bright and cheerful.
"A television, Draco…" Maria said slowly, forcing a smile.
"Yes, horrible thing. Clearly a Muggle contraption… No wonder that mudblood bitch likes it so much. Clapping like a god damn seal whenever Who Wants To Be A Millionaire comes on. I hate that retched Muggle of a man. Chris Tarrant…"
"Draco…what have we said about using those words?" Maria said, slowing her voice once more.
"You can stop talking to me like I'm a bloody child right now! And I don't care what you said. She's a mudblood and I'll call her that if I so choose to. Now, when's lunch ? I'm famished." replied Draco, a tone of supremacy evident in his cold voice.
He had been a tricky one, Draco Malfoy. Refused to let any of the nurses near him at first, screaming, kicking and groping around for something that they were later informed was his wand. You see, like the other five occupying the ward, Draco believed that he was a wizard and helped build a story about how a man named Lord Voldemort had taken over the wizarding world, only to be conquered by Harry. For reasons unbeknown to the nurses, Draco did not like the rest of the ward and was usually found trying to set fire to Ron's bed using a cigarette lighter or, not unlike one occasion not long after his arrival at the hospital, they found a notepad, full of badly written notes and descriptions on how to kill Hermione and Harry. Ginny and Luna had been spared his plots although they were usually the targets of his verbal abuse. Although he had become slightly more compliant after he realized the drugs they were giving him helped him to sleep.
Maria sighed, not attempting to answer his question, although she knew this would make him angrier. She didn't mind though. He was harmless really. Just a bit…gone in the head.
They all were, although Ron rarely showed symptoms of any mental disorder. In fact, had he not claimed he was a wizard, Maria would have refused him entry to the hospital.
Her eyes wandered across the opposite side of the room. Luna sat, her blonde hair hanging comically in front of her gaunt face, making her look like a form of the villain from The Ring, flicking her wrist in a motion which made it look as though she were brandishing a wand. No doubt, she thought she was doing magic. Ron, currently occupying the bed beside her, sat reading a book. George Orwell's 1984. He seemed rather engrossed in it, and Maria refused to interrupt. Hermione Granger, the occupant of the bed closest to the window on Ronald's side, however was a different case altogether. She never spoke. Never made a noise or a squeak. Not even when she laughed. Her tales were told through the paintings she painted at therapy class. Each a more horrifying and disturbing tale than the last.
Maria had seen it all in her eight years in the job. Anorexics, Schizophrenics, Murderers, Mutes. All of them. But nothing like these six. Harry, who had been institutionalized first would sit for hours rocking back and forth, claiming he did not deserve to live. This wouldn't subside unless he was sedated, but doing that too often would make him almost zombie-like and the nurses were warned to refrain from causing such effects. He was suicidal to say the least, which insanely made Draco happy. Ginny, an ex of Harry's, lived in the past. Never a day went by when she would not speak to the rest as though they were still teenagers, asking Ronald which class he had next or asking Hermione for help with her homework. It was a shame really, for she was an adult trapped in a child's body. Luna was anorexic. She refused to eat at all, always coming up with scams and ideas to get out of eating, most of which ended with Ron having second helpings. No one was quite sure why she was like this, for she would never explain. But she was deathly thin and pale, her large blue eyes seeming too big for her gaunt face. Hermione, as afore mentioned, had become a mute. Not speaking at all, although she would smile and clap enthusiastically when she enjoyed something, usually a quiz on television. Ronald had told Maria during one of their private conversations that he and Hermione had once dated and that, back then, it was impossible to shut her up. He highly suspected she had used up all her words back then. And then there was Draco. Positively homicidal. And a great lover of pain. Watching Ginny throw things at Harry, watching Harry try to kill himself, and punching Hermione were three of his favorite hobbies since arriving in the ward, and Maria tried her best to keep him from interacting with the other patients.
She helped Ginny, or Ginevra, back into her bed, pulling the covers over her knees and soothingly pushing her hair off her face. "Professor," she whispered. "I think Colin's fallen into the lake again…" Maria nodded, as though she completely understood what Ginny was saying, before telling the red head to close her eyes and get some rest.
She enjoyed working with the girls, and Ron. They were the easier cases for her which she had found on her first day with them, when Hermione had appeared by her side smiling silently, before braiding Maria's hair while Ginny sat telling her tales of her past relationships and Luna nodded intently, looking spaced out. And as for Ron? He helped. He knew how to calm Hermione down when she was upset, held Ginny back when she tried to help Harry in his suicide bids, and even got Luna to eat. Well, sometimes.
It was Harry who worried her most. No one could calm him and with Draco, and rather occasionally Ginny, willing to assist him in his suicide attempts, he was always one to be wary of.
As a bell rang to signify lunch hour, Maria smiled at her patients from her current position seated on Ginny's bed. She was going to make a special attempt today. To get them all to tell her their story. She would record it - although she would need a video camera for Hermione's story - and watch it, comparing their problems, for she was sure that something could help them. If she could make Hermione speak, or Luna eat, she would know that she had helped one of them. Even if some, like Harry, were too far gone to be saved.
A/N : This chapter, is just like an explanation. The real stories come in the following six or so chapters. Reviews please ? I really want to know what you think. Also, betas? My AIM s/n is Miaajayne so; IM me if you're interested.